How I Zapped My Brain With A 9v Battery To Overcome Analysis Paralysis
cognition | stress
JD Leadam presents his personal story of self-tracking that had transformative effects on his life by ultimately rewiring his brain. He shares his self-tracking obsession from analysis paralysis to eventual discovery of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)--an unprecedented tool which provided him with the ability to rewire his brain to lead a less-stressed life.
The Brain Stimuator | tdcs
I’m JD, and I’m going to be talking about, I’m sure you’ve read your pamphlets, like I took a nine volt battery and I shopped my brain into change. I am the brain stimulator, and that one tDCS guy.
Hi, my name is JD and I am a self-tracking addict. There we go, some people have been to AA, nice, good to know. So when I first discovered the idea of self-tracking, I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. So I tracked everything. Everything I put in my body, food, supplements, prescription medicine, recreational drugs and alcohol intake. It was college, I mean, and who hasn’t in the 70s. Heart rate, and heart rate variability, quality of sleep, everything.
So now what? You have all this data and what do you do with it. Well we quantify it, that’s why we are all here. So, time to organize it and analyze it. All these hours, and let’s find out what the benefits are, but instead what happened to me is that I hit analysis paralysis, which is a state of over analyzing, over thinking, hitting a situation that is often never taken. So essentially like the fear of change; there’s too much data and you don’t know what to do about it.
So who here has experienced analysis paralysis, be honest. Yeah, there’s quite a few people here.
There’s so much data that we collect in our everyday lives, so what do you do after you have all this data? What do you do after all this tracking? Biohacking!
I discovered biohacking. Now my definition is the art of making oneself better, faster, smarter, stronger, in a shorter and more efficient amount of time. I’m sure Dave Asprey with bulletproof has a different definition for you, but that’s mine.
So, essentially tracking helped me realize that I wanted to change my life. I wanted to improve my performance in college. I really wasn’t that great as a student and I didn’t really care that much. I needed to graduate.
I wanted to improve my reading speeds. They were very slow and I stopped reading personally. I experienced these kinds of low motivation and productivity. And I also had a lot of stress and anxiety in my life that I actually experienced pretty much throughout my entire life.
So how I tracked it. Well, school, obviously I tracked it through grades. What type of grades I was receiving. Reading and the time required to take the textbooks or to read the textbooks, which was abysmal.
My anxiety, and frequent doses of this also this anti-anxiety medication. Here is a bunch of supplements and drugs and whatever that I took. I’m pretty sure that I’ve taken every one of Dave Asprey’s products, so I’m actually the one who made him a millionaire in the first place.
But you’re trying all these things, nothing really stuck out. I mean some things would help. Sometimes, but it wasn’t like one thing was like a-ha, life saved, everything's over, no need to track. And then I came across tDCS, but it’s the ultimate biohacking tool. So tDCS stands for, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. And essentially what that is, is involves sending a low amount of current with a low voltage two different cortices of your brain to produce some pretty profound results.
So with tDCS there is an anode and a cathode, the positive and the negative electrode. The anode, it increases cortical excitability, and the cathode decreases cortical excitability. There has been masses of amount of scientific study of these done recently. As you can see, it looks like we are going to hit over 625. But we believe it’s going to be more like 700 studies this year. And I figured what the hell. It’s just my brain, let’s put electricity through it and see what happens, you know.
So I went to buy one, and found out that they were really expensive, although rudimentary, so I built my own. I used it a few times, but I didn’t really notice anything.
So this is my bad ass grandfather, except he got really sick in 2013 and I was going to school up in Northern California, and I was coming down to Southern California a lot to visit him in case the worst happened.
Lucky enough, he got healthy and actually came back to full health. But, when I went back up to school, I realized that I had missed all but one or two classes up to a mid-term exam in one of the hardest classes that I had ever taken in my college career.
Now, I knew that I could read the textbook and learn the information, but I’m an auditory learner and also a really slow reader. So I didn’t really see much promise in this at all. So I figured you know, why not try TDCS.
There is a montage, and a place that you can use on your prefrontal cortex, which helps you retain textual based information. Auditory learner needs to learn textual based information, seemed perfect.
So, I use my device and I put it on and I started reading. That’s my first device I made by the way. You can see the nine volt battery right there. I actually sold it to this guy for $42 on eBay, so I must have been onto something.
But I felt the current flowing, and I read the chapters and I didn’t really notice any results. It was kind of like all of my other experiences, kind of like, okay, nice, nothing really big. I’d just figure I’d fail.
So on the way to class. I remember thinking, well maybe I can get extra credit and how I’m going to tell my father I’m a failure. Seventh year of undergrad, but then the teacher hands me the test. And I looked down, and I can remember concepts down to the very paragraph. They were located in the textbook.
It was like I had photographic memory, and I wanted to run out of the class and tell everyone I knew, that I had just discovered the most amazing thing in the world that’s going to give an ace for the test, after being to know classes except for one.
So I started researching all sorts of other uses. What else could this be used for? I read and I read, and I read, and I came across anxiety. And I was actually able to reduce my prescription anxiety medication in half, in one week. And completely remove it within two weeks.
Now sure, everyone is like too good to be true, what are you talking about JD you’re making this up. Well DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has proven that they can train snipers and fighter pilots in half the amount of time.
My biggest experience is I got very sick, which involved a hospital stay. I got very depressed. I was staying in bed all day. I lost friends, I lost time at work, and tDCS in my opinion saved my life. It brought me out of that fog.
I think everyone should know about this technology. The first device I built, I built it for $15 and it has the same technology in the $300 units that are out there. This is the only thing that I want to do in my life, and that’s why I’m here today.
I want to bridge the gap between data gathering and data influencing. tDCS provides a remarkable tool which allows us to communicate with our brains in the natural language that it uses every day. Electricity.
Thanks, and I’ll be happy to take your questions.